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Sliding Glass Doors: The Homeowners Buying Guide

Are you in the market for a sliding glass patio door?  If so, this article is for you!  This buying guide will help the average homeowner evaluate the various choices and selling points of sliding glass patio doors.

Shopping for a sliding glass patio door can be a little overwhelming.  Just visit any home center or big box hardware store and you'll find several dozen choices on the floor, and possibly hundreds more options in special order catalogs.  How does the average homeowner know where to begin?  In the following article, we'll explain what you need to know before you go shopping for a sliding glass patio door for your home.

One of the first things you'll want to pay attention to when shopping for a sliding door is the frame.  Factory constructed patio doors come in several different frame styles.  Solid wood frames are a very high end option, and are usually only found on custom manufactured doors.  Many factories have gone to what's called a wood clad frame.  This is an aluminum frame with a fitted outer wood cover.  This reduces the cost of the door, while still giving the illusion of a high end wood frame.  For the most economical of patio doors, you'll likely be looking at basic aluminum frames.  Single part hollow aluminum extrusion is usually the frame of choice for lower priced models of patio doors.  One thing you might want to look for is a thermobrake aluminum frame, which is essentially constructed in two pieces, so that in very cold weather, you won't get frost on the aluminum inside panel.

The type of glass used is the next important consideration in buying your patio door.  Glass panels come in either single or double panes.  Double pane glass, also known as an IG unit, is preferred.  This glass will be tempered, meaning that if it breaks, it won't shatter and create a safety hazard.  One of the newest trends in windows and doors is Low-E, or low emissivity, glass.  Low-E glass is used to create very energy efficient doors and windows, because it reflects heat back to its source rather than absorbing and transmitting it inside your home.  The other benefit to Low-E glass is that it will help reduce ultraviolet light transmission, which will prevent your carpet, furniture, and window coverings from fading and discoloring.

The last thing to consider when comparing sliding glass doors is the type of hardware used.  Most sliding patio doors feature a single point lock, which is usually a hook style latch that locks by hooking into the patio door frame.  Single point locks are not very secure, because the patio door can usually be lifted right out of its frame, even when the handle is in the locked position.  A better alternative is a double point lock, which means that there are two hooks, pointing in opposite directions, locking into the door frame.  This prevents the possibility of the door being lifted out of its frame.

If security is a concern, there are various aftermarket products that can be added to your patio door to make it more secure.  Blocking bars can be added, that extend across the stationary side of the sliding door, blocking the door from being opened.  If the blocking bar is made of a substantial metal, it will provide a good degree of security.  Most blocking bar systems have mechanical attachment methods.  Another add-on security option is a security pin.  These devices are usually installed at the very bottom or top of the inside of the door, to prevent the door from opening when pinned.

For more information on what type of sliding glass patio door is right for you, visit your local home center and spend some time talking to the sales staff.  They are usually well versed in the various aspects of the door lines they carryBusiness Management Articles, and they should be able to guide you in the right direction.

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